March 14, 2006

The Battle with Mediocrity

You have a question. How do you know what you're meant to do and if you're going to be an good at it? You wonder if successful or even great people knew what their legacy would be…did it proclaim itself each time they looked in the mirror? Did they feel an irresistible force guiding them towards their life's work? Did they ever decide that maybe their calling was to step out of the race to prove themselves, sit back and cultivate their bitterness. Or were their egos as fragile as yours; did they just sustain themselves over false starts and dead-ends with faltering and sometimes misplaced confidence.

- 4 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Perhaps the best test of a great person is not how they create right, but how they react to wrong.

    15 Mar 2006, 14:13

  2. If we knew it would be too easy… plus it's a battle you don't need to have B, you are anything but mediocre!

    20 Apr 2006, 00:31

  3. Free Dating

    find your date today

    13 Aug 2006, 00:17

  4. Paul

    Forgive me for writing at length but it is an interesting/meaningful question that I consider/feel out almost every day. My own view is in the last (aside from ’*’) 2 paragraphs and the rest worthy of skipping.

    I’m not expert on anything, but I was reading in a text book (unusual place to find wisdom) that the big choices about one’s future cannot be made ‘rationally’ due to A: lack of future knowledge and B: lack of perfect knowledge and thus many people make choices on unsuitable, but more certain, criteria instead (e.g. the location, the rate of pay, the job security, the hours etc.).

    [I’m not sure that it is right to look at it as a matter of ‘am I good at it’, because this implies that, ‘rationally’, we should do what we do best (holding everything else constant). Kant raises the matter of ‘is it a ‘no-no’ to neglect one’s gifts’. My answer is ‘no’. To imply gifts is too deterministic for me. The idea seems to have been invented by ‘fans’: many able individuals have their gifts ignored and many people’s gifts are curses in disguise – mixed blessings. Also, abilities have many uses when applied to different contexts and objects.

    What other people considered about themselves, at least on the outside, is a matter of great variety (I refer to what biographers seem to me to have classed their thoughts as). It is a large set: L. De Vinchi seemed to get through on the basis of a compulsion to work (although money was also important). Others were, perhaps, motivated by insecurity, altruism (?), idealism (?). Some people, I expect, did many things and then settled on just one which they found the best in their range and view. Others made a notable choice, but one that was wrong for them and they payed the price. Yet more others probably didn’t make any choices and simply ended up doing what they did, either enviously or with good heart.

    Many people, I speculate, sustain themselves with false hopes. Many probably build temples inside themselves to the great-god ‘rationalisation’ as they shout about ‘winners’ and ‘losers’. However, literature tends to judge people once they are dead and the more minutely one reads about a person the more, perhaps, one might understand that they had problems concerning motivation and decision the same as everyone else. It is only the macro-view, of considering many noteworthy lives at the same time, that seems to give the false-impression that all ‘motivation’ and ‘achievement’ is the same thing in essence.

    But what do I know? I haven’t seen more than a tiny-tiny amount of life and, so I’ve been told, I cannot look inside people’s heads or trust what they write. But Philosophy? Bah! They just want to read the auspices of the bones of life, bleached dry. They wouldn’t know the wine/dust-of-life it bit them in the caboos (like an asp). Down with the ‘Day-job Philosophers’.*]

    In this spirit, I’m not going to answer the question because there may be many ‘answers’ to it but the only real answer is in seeing what happens and doing what you (or I, or them over there) have chosen to do. Perhaps… perhaps the criteria that such a choice should be judged on (if the Allmighty is keeping his/her/its accounts) is not the end but the means by which one came to a choice (holistically)?

    All I’m saying (which you knew already) is one can get rather down if one paints such a question in terms of two down-beat alternatives when there are no X number of alternatives available, but literally infinite alternative ‘answers’, most of them ‘unknowable’.

    *Notice: I am aware that this contradits what I said above, but I don’t care as I know I am being dramatic : ).

    29 Oct 2006, 13:28


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